This is my 300th post on this blog. It’s been an interesting journey and while I have some idea where I’d like to go, I am not fully sure where I’ll end up.
One thing I never thought I’d do is start writing for another blog, but here it is my first post on Today’s Author. This introduction describes my writing journey so far. Please click over there and check it out. I am working on my next article for them. I’ll let you know when that is posted.
On the rejection front, I received another rejection this week. Bringing my total number of rejections to 6. Currently I have two poems under submission. Doing the math, it looks like I am behind schedule. Personally I am blaming that on Today’s Author derailing my rejection plans with a kind acceptance.
There were two blog posts this week that got me thinking about how I am approaching this blogging thing and the community that gets built between blogs. First was Jacqui Murray’s post, How to Talk to People Online, where she points out the problems we encounter online and some ways to deal with them. Then there was Jamie Lee Wallace’s post, Truth and Blogging Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips, where she explores how much of our real selves we expose online – noting that some people seem to share “grievously sparkly accounts of their perfect lives.”
Both posts got me thinking about how I approach writing my blog, how I engage others on their blogs, and what I do when someone leaves a comment for me. The phrase that popped into my head, and wouldn’t leave, was, “Rules of Engagement.” Yes, it sounds a bit military and warlike, but there are times when I feel like I am fighting while doing this blogging thing. There are rules I follow and I thought I’d list them all out for you.
This is where writing takes a funny turn. When I wrote out all those funny and clever rules that were in my mind, I didn’t like the way they were hitting the screen. Rereading my words made me feel pompous and self-important, which generally I am not. I’ve deleted two full approaches to the subject. If I were following all my rules, I’d quit right now and just post a picture and go out the living room to work on the jigsaw puzzle.
Still I feel the need to try to answer the three questions I posed.
How do I approach writing my blog and do I wear a mask? Most of my blog is a personal essay style that borders on stream of consciousness, except I edit heavily before pressing the publish button. If you met me in real life, I’d talk about and share the same things as I do on-line. The only differences is that in person you wouldn’t get the edited version.
My general writing rules are simplistic:
1. Be honest.
2. Be short.
3. Use playful humor, avoid jokes.
4. Write a lot, edit a lot.
5. Have at least one good point.
6. Try to use proper spelling and grammar.
7. When necessary, ignore the rules.
8. Avoid talking about future writing plans.
9. When the blog writing isn’t go well, post a picture instead.
How do I engage others on their blogs? Gently. If I like your post I’ll click ‘like.’ If you follow my blog, likely I’ll follow your blog. If I can think of something to say to your post, I’ll leave a short comment. My mother’s advice is applied at all times, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” There are things that annoy me about other people’s blogs and when I run into those, I just stop reading and move on. Some blogs I follow because I get something from them and some I follow because I’d like to encourage that blogger to keep writing.
What do I do when someone leaves a comment on my blog? There is a little mental rejoicing that someone took the time and effort to comment. Then there is this little moment of fear that the comment might be something wacky and/or derogatory. I try to respond to all comments. My stats say there are nearly 1,500 comments on this blog and I know that at least 725 are me replying. I do have spam filters in place so most of the wacky stuff gets filtered out before I see it. I rarely get negative comments or trolls. When I do, those comments are just quietly deleted without comment and the offending accounts blocked.
I’ve enjoyed this blogging journey so far, even if it is difficult at times – both in the writing and the responding. Where it goes from here isn’t always clear, but you’ll likely be hearing more about me writing in other places in different styles.
Saying more would violate my writing rules…
Till next week,